Borj Neffara

The Borj Neffara (Arabic: برج النفارة‎ , "Tower of the Trumpeters") is a historic observation tower and landmark near the Qarawiyyin Mosque in Fes el-Bali, the old city of Fes, Morocco. It is also referred to as the Dar al-Muwaqqit (not to be confused with another Dar al-Muwaqqit inside the nearby Qarawiyyin Mosque and in other mosques).[1][2]

Borj (an-)Neffara
برج النفارة
Borj Neffara 03.jpg
The Borj Neffara, seen from the street next to the Qarawiyyin Mosque.
General information
Typeobservation tower
Architectural styleMarinid, Moroccan
LocationFez, Morocco
Coordinates34°03′53.3″N 4°58′26″W / 34.064806°N 4.97389°W / 34.064806; -4.97389Coordinates: 34°03′53.3″N 4°58′26″W / 34.064806°N 4.97389°W / 34.064806; -4.97389
Completedmid-14th century
Technical details


The Borj Neffara seen from nearby rooftops.

The construction of the tower is attributed to the Marinid sultan Abu Inan in the mid-14th century.[1] The tower is often mistaken for a minaret, but is architecturally distinguished from a minaret in part by the lack of a lantern structure (a kind of mini-tower) at its top (though the nearby minaret of the Qarawiyyin Mosque also lacks this).[2] The tower is part of a slightly larger structure called the Dar al-Muwaqqit ("House of the Timekeeper"), a term also used for the room or residence of the timekeeper (muwaqqit) in various mosques. The structure here consists of a house with two floors arranged around a central courtyard, with the tower rising on the house's southern side.[2][1]

The tower is reported to have served several functions, but the principal function appears to have been as a platform for astronomical observation carried out by a muwaqqit (timekeeper).[2][3] Many mosques already had a muwaqqit who was responsible for establishing the times of prayers and other time-related functions. This tower was meant to assist in determining the accurate beginning of the months (including Ramadan) in the Islamic lunar calendar, something for which astronomical observation was crucial.[2] The muwaqqit himself presumably lived and/or worked in the adjoining house.

The tower reportedly also doubled as a fire lookout tower.[3] The tower's name, meaning "Tower of the Trumpeters", is a reference to the fact that during the fasting month of Ramadan, trumpeters would climb the tower and wake the people of the city just before dawn so that they could take their last meal (suhur) before the fasting period during the day.[2][4]


  1. ^ a b c "La magnifique rénovation des 27 monuments de Fès – Conseil Régional du Tourisme (CRT) de Fès" (in French). Retrieved 2020-01-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Dar Al Mouaqqit (Information plaque). On the street below the tower, just opposite the Bab Chemaine gate of the Qarawiyyin Mosque: ADER-Fes. November 2014.
  3. ^ a b Le Tourneau, Roger (1949). Fès avant le protectorat: étude économique et sociale d'une ville de l'occident musulman. Casablanca: Société Marocaine de Librairie et d'Édition. p. 132.
  4. ^ Parker, Richard (1981). A practical guide to Islamic Monuments in Morocco. Charlottesville, VA: The Baraka Press. p. 140.